Salmon numbers stay low

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
5 September 2007, at 1:00am

IDAHO - Efforts toward recovery of salmon on their namesake river continue an uphill battle. Just 1,549 returning Chinook salmon having been counted at the Sawtooth Hatchery near Stanley by 4 September. This Friday, 6 September, will be the last day of counting.

As of 28 August, only four sockeye salmon had been counted returning from the Pacific Ocean to their namesake Redfish Lake, where they once spawned by the thousands. The sockeye program is primarily a gene-banking program, rather than a recovery program, and far fewer sockeye smolts are released than are Chinook smolts.

The number of returning sockeye in recent years has varied tremendously, from a low of three in 2003 and 2006 to 257 in 2000. Most years, the number is in the 20s.

"These are some of the poorest returns we've seen in recent years," said Mike Peterson, a fisheries biologist with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

Peterson said sockeye return numbers have been low throughout the Columbia River basin, which includes the upper Columbia and Fraser rivers in British Columbia.

Source: Mtexpress